If we witnessed the peace and tranquility that is given in the hours before death, we would be less afraid. – Jennifer Worth.
I’m currently reading In the Midst of Life* by Jennifer Worth, a retired nurse and author.
She shares her experience with the advances in medicine and how they seem to have shifted our attitudes about death. Through stories of patients she helped care for, we see the extreme measures often taken to keep the elderly alive in spite of what that “life” will probably look like.
Much of this “do everything technologically possible” is fueled by the demands and expectations of families that SOMETHING MUST BE DONE…
It seems that doctors are now acting out of fear of being sued as much as out of their belief that it is the right course of action.
Everyone must decide which they and their family values more: QUALITY or QUANTITY.
Hopefully you have had conversations with the person to know what they would want so you are more comfortable when you have to choose for them. I find most people avoid these conversations – even well into their 70s or 80s. This is one area where I help my private clients – how to have the tough, but necessary, conversations around care choices during and towards the end of the progression of dementia.
Personally and within my family, we are of the QUALITY over Quantity mindset. We choose to intervene if there is pain but we don’t choose to do tests and procedures in search of other problems or so we can be forced to decide for or against a medication.
My dad is in the end stages of Alzheimer’s. He is like an infant – dependent on my mom for everything. I KNOW he would not consider his current state to be a quality life. We had many conversations over the years about aging and what he would and would not want done. This makes it so much easier to make the choices now, that he can’t make for himself.
I believe we need to learn to accept death and dying as a natural process and not just embrace the “fight against all odds!” attitude that is so prevalent…
Fight at what cost? Physically, emotionally and financially?
There is currently no cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s so how much do you put someone through to extend their days when their mind is going or gone?
– Tara Reed 💜